April 1, 2008
- Southern Sierran as Firefighters Back Ban on Flame Retardants, July 2008, page 2
- Orange Coast Voice as Toxic Flame Retardants: Ubiquitious but toxic BFRs are everywhere, even the Artic, April 2008, page 11
Firefighters Back Banning Controversial Flame Retardant
Sarah S. Mosko, Ph.D.
BFRs are so ubiquitous that they are found in remote areas of the Artic and throughout the food chain, from zooplankton to dolphins and polar bears.
Your TV, mattress, couch and computer could be sources of man-made toxic chemicals building up in human tissues, including breast milk. Sounds crazy, but it’s not.
Many consumer products are imbued with a class of flame retardants considered by many to be bad news since they accumulate in fatty tissues, resist breakdown in the environment, and disrupt normal development in lab animals. They are called polybrominated diphenyl ethers or just brominated flame retardants (BFRs).
Introduced in the 1970’s, BFRs have become commonplace in upholstery foam, textiles and electronics because synthetic materials, like petroleum-based plastics, are generally more flammable. BFRs impede the spread of fire bycreating a layer of bromine gas around a heated product, keeping oxygen at bay. They comprise up to 30% of an item’s weight and migrate out over time into air, dust, and soil. Read the rest of this entry »
March 1, 2007
- Orange Coast Voice, August 2007, page 10.
- Southern Sierran, March 2007.
Trust in Chemicals Unhealthy: U.S. Can Learn from European Union
Sarah S. Mosko, Ph.D.
About 80,000 chemicals have been introduced since World War II, produced at facilities like this one.
WWII marked the introduction of man-made chemicals into modern society, revolutionizing many of the consumer products we use every day.
Consider the following. Plastic cotainers, non-stick cookware, and cleaning products stock our kitchen pantries. Our foods are grown with liberal use of synthetic fertilizers. Hardly a wall anywhere goes unpainted. We sit, walk, and sleep on materials that do not derive from nature. Few of us can image getting through a hectic day at work or school without the aid of computers, telephones or other chemical-laden electronic devices. Even popular high-tech clothing fabrics are 100% synthetic.
We do not give much thought to what chemicals went into the manufacture of these everyday commodities. We trust whole-heartedly that any chemicals used are safe and well regulated by the government. But, are they?
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